Monday, 3 January 2011

03.01. Gadgets

Did you see the news yesterday about the fault on some iPhones, a glitch that stops its alarm clock going off, leaving many people oversleeping on the first two days of the New Year? It made me start thinking on how dependent we are of all sorts of gadgets today. Well, I am anyway, are you? I do use my phone as an alarm clock, but I still have an old fashion alarm clock too – an electric one though, with battery back-up. Mind you, my phone is probably not
worthy the label ‘gadget’. My son, who incidentally works for Britain’s biggest electrical retailer, keeps reminding me that it is about time I got myself a proper phone, a Smart Phone, you know....a phone that can do more than just take calls and send texts.

Here is a picture of my trusty old phone by the way, it rings and sends texts, and even woke me up on New Years Day. But do I really need a new, smart phone? That is a big question... to which my son replies: can’t you just get one, you’ll soon find out what you have missed out on! He is right, of course. Supply creates demand. I have a friend who doesn’t have a microwave, never ever had a microwave and don’t think he needs one either. At the age of 65 one could probably agree with him, but it’s a bit like me and the don’t know what you are missing until you no longer miss it! I have had a microwave oven since 1988; I use it several times every day and couldn’t even dream of not having one. If the iPhones were cheap to buy and cheap to run I certainly would have got myself one, but compared to the cost of a microwave for example, the smart phones are still expensive. I bought my current microwave oven in January 2002, in Argos, for £29.99. I just checked with their web-site, and although the model is slightly updated, they still have the same microwave for....oh, it’s 3 pence cheaper, at £29.96! What do you get for that amount today, for example when shopping food? Not much, and my microwave is still going strong, nothing wrong with it, will probably last for another 9 years.

OK, so a microwave is probably not really a ‘gadget’ either then, just like my trusty old phone. But I’ll tell you about a gadget I would really like to of those automatic vacuum cleaners that whizz around the house and vacuums when you are out! I have seen one in action, and although I wasn’t overly impressed with the cleaning result, the fact that you didn’t have to do anything after a bit of installation was rather impressive. However, those gadgets are meant for people with large houses, with large rooms; with laaaarge open spaces, so that the cleaner can really get into action. Well, the vacuum cleaner is after all American, made for American sized houses, or Norwegian – same thing. You should see my house: the smallest ever version of a British two-up-two-down Victorian terraced house. My living room is smaller than my bedroom, and I don’t have a dining room; it literarily is 2 up: 2 bedrooms, and 2 down: living room and kitchen. And, yes – in the 50s they built a small extension so the house could get a small bathroom, but that’s it. So an automatic vacuum cleaner in my house would just get stuck on the furniture, and nothing would get cleaned. Shame, because I would have liked to have one of those :-) If you have never seen or heard about one of these vacuum cleaners, here is a link to a YouTube video, explaining the whole thing. I am sorry if this link no longer works, that probably means you are reading this post long after I uploaded it :-)

What other kind of gadgets would I have liked to have might you perhaps ask yourself? I wouldn’t mind a Nespresso Coffee Machine, a Digital SLR, an iPod, an iPad, a better TopSetBox because I could kill the one I have now as it freezes several times a week, a Hi Fi system, a new and better SatNav (got a TomTom One), a kitchen blowtorch, a smoothie maker, a soup maker, a ...oh, I could go on I need any of these? Probably not . But I would use all of them if I had them! But I’ll tell you about one kitchen gadget I have had for some years now, which is in frequent use, and that is my hands free automatic can opener. Ever seen one of those? Maybe you have seen that stupid ad on the TV of that guy with the hair that goes round while the can opener that was a TV ad I could have been without....but the opener is excellent if you have painful hands like me. You literarily just place the can opener on top of the tin, push the button, and the opener does the rest. Once finished, you just lift the opener with the lid attached, ready to be thrown away. Brilliant!

Shall I tell you some gadgets I have read about which will never be on my whish list or shopping list? A self-closing toilet seat which has an infrared sensor so that when you walk away, the seat will close itself. Nope, not on my wish list, perhaps if I got a boyfriend, but I can manage to close the seat myself, thank you very much. Another one? A toilet roll holder where you can plug your iPod or iPhone in and it’ll play the music stored. It has four integrated moisture-free speakers and charges your iPod when it's docked. Nahh, not that one either, not even if I got myself an iPod or iPhone!

I think my most appreciated gadget from now on was what I got for Christmas; if I can call it a tell was an electric throw. Not an electric blanket, which you have in bed, and which has to be fully straightened out and you place your normal blanket on top of it. No, this is a throw that you can have on your sofa or in an armchair, you can wrap it around you and it can be scrunched up when turned on, it’s made of soft fleece and you hardly notice the very thin metal thread that run inside the double layered throw. It is great if you have a cold house in the mornings and evenings, it is even better if you have stiff and painful joints and since getting it at Christmas I have used it several times every day and I think it will soon become my most used electrical item in the house, at least during autumn, winter and spring. And my cat loves it too :-)

Speaking of which, I haven’t put a photo of him here yet, perhaps it’s time for that now, as we established yesterday, one can never have too may photos of cute cats! So here he is, looking rather dazed, but as a cat of 9 years of age, what can you expect – he sleeps some 90% of the time. Now that I have managed to fit my cat in, I suppose it’s time to wrap this post up for the day, find something to eat and turn on my electric throw. Till next time, take care.

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